On May 9, 1945, the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition accepted the unconditional surrender of Hitler’s Germany. But they did not rejoice for long: on may 10, a new war began. And the storming of Berlin was, in fact, the first battle
The last battle was really the most difficult. Not only psychologically, when you really want to live and see your Russia, home, and mother. No, the Berlin offensive was very difficult and in a purely military sense. And the victims. To the victims of those who were already at home in their thoughts, having shaken off as a terrible dream the horrors and hardships of this endless four-year war…
Blood tribute. But is it necessary?
When you stand on the Seelow heights and see the cliff ahead, on the flat floodplain of the Oder to the horizon, can’t help but feel horror. At the mere thought that on this flat marshy plain on these breakages in a forehead there were soldiers and tanks. We walked on the flooded area of the furnace. First came the infantry. It repelled it, I was down for the Germans at a glance, from the heights shot the whole thing. And it was a lot: two months here were preparing for the defense of the German army group “Vistula” and “Center”.
Seeing that the resistance node on the Seelow heights for infantry units is insurmountable, the commander of the Russian troops in this direction, Marshal Georgy Zhukov introduced into battle the 1st and 2nd guards tank armies. They were assigned to develop the breakthrough, but now it had to be forgotten. Tanks had to reinforce the efforts of the infantry. And the assault on the second German line of defense was the horror that decades after the battle continues to loom over hundreds covering the Seelow heights the graves of Russian soldiers with the words “Unknown” (for some reason After entering the battlefield of tank armies the infantry was still ahead at the blazing flashes of the guns a natural fortress. Behind her, the sappers frantically, under the same terrible fire paved Gati, which moved armored vehicles. Column. At the pace of a foot soldier. Not being able to maneuver.
And when the tank was hit — and they were hit a lot, because in their position they were an easy target for enemy gunners – it just pushed into the swamp. And his place was taken by the next car. Moved two dozen meters, until it hit her…
And there is no escape, except to climb the wall in the forehead, nature had not left…But it was the Russian soldiers and commanders with four-year experience ghastlier battles in defense and in attack. By the morning of April 18, after a two-day bloody assault, the Seelow heights fell. But the third line of defense of the Germans was broken only by the night of April 19. In four days only 30 km have been passed, and Berlin was still ahead. And the most efficient units, including two guards tank armies, turned out to be almost worn down. 60 km advance Zhukov went 18 divisions. Average daily losses — 7 804 people. Losses in technology — dire: in the Berlin operation, our troops lost 2,156 tanks and self-propelled guns. According to other sources — 1997, but it does not matter: one way or another, this is the third part of all machines involved in the operation!
Was there a need to break in the forehead? Still many doubt it. Although from the point of view of military, and if you take the whole panorama of the last battles of the Great Patriotic War, it is clear that such a frontal assault Zhukov, coupled with the breakthrough on Berlin from the South, troops of the 1st Ukrainian front of Marshal Konev gave the Germans the chance to remove any of the regiment for the defense of Berlin. Army group “Vistula” was separated from the army group “Center” and all the survivors in the defense of the Oder the Germans were driven into the forest between Frankfurt and Guben, where it was digested in the pot, not allowing them to break through to Berlin. Thanks to this assault on the capital of Hitler’s Germany was easier and faster than if there were 200 thousand surrounded by German soldiers. But this is from an operational point of view. And with strategic? Many still believe that it was enough to impose Berlin and calmly wait for his surrender than to put 78 291 people in the battle for him. All the same, the allies were standing on the Elbe, not trying to take away the sacred prerogative of the Russian occupation of Berlin.
Here is with allies and was the problem…
But could the Soviet leadership count on the loyal behavior of the United States and Britain if Hitler’s Berlin remained to stand, at least in the environment? Hardly. More precisely, it did not count on it.
Yes, the German capital was taken inefficient, bloody and cruel above all in relation to their own soldiers. Yes, it could be more economical and beskrovnaia, than after the war were willing and beetles. But for all the military expediency of surrounding Berlin and leaving it under siege, the behavior of the Western allies did not allow the Soviet leadership to have this option politically. Here’s why.first, from the very beginning of Hitler’s power, our future allies behaved in an encouraging manner towards Germany. At the same time, the goal was not even hidden: Germany had to fight the USSR, whose growing power could no longer be compensated by the combined strength of Poland and Romania.
And Moscow could not fail to take into account that the West not only allowed Germany to unilaterally dismantle the Versailles agreements but also encouraged its direct territorial expansion. At the same time, no concessions were made with regard to Russia’s return of its territories lost as a result of the First world war. On the contrary, the Western powers have established a system of guarantees for the States that seized its territory, in particular, Poland, Romania, the Baltic States, Finland, and Turkey.
It is this policy and unfair, and therefore a fragile system of isolation of the USSR did not allow the West to seriously build a system of mutual security with her. Secondly, the West is very seriously and for a long time — up to the present day — offended by the fact that the Soviet Union has secured its national interests, including the restoration of temporarily lost during the Civil war and foreign intervention territories. The fact that Moscow beat them in this matter, achieving these goals as a result of the brilliant achievement of Russian foreign policy, the Molotov — Ribbentrop Pact, breaking the scenario of war with Germany for mutual destruction prepared for it by the West, the allies remembered clearly and evil.
And as they could, they still left Germany and the USSR to destroy each other. And it was this memory that determined the policy of the allies at the last stage of the war, just as at the first stage their policy was largely dictated by the desire to keep Hitler in the Soviet Union as long as possible so that the Germans had time to inflict more damage on her. All these delays with the second front — from here.
But the Kremlin also had a problem